By Joel McDonald
For the second year, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is encouraging Mormons to serve others during the Christmas season, calling for twenty-five days of service leading up to Christmas Day. Each day in December leading up to the Christmas Day on the 25th has a scriptural theme. Themes include from being thankful, serving those in need, refraining from judgment, forgiving others, and sharing the gospel. There are a series of videos with a video for each day and a calendar with for each day as well. A video announcing the campaign was posted earlier this week.
Service is a hallmark of the LDS Church. I often hear admiration of this focus on service from non-members and former members of the Church alike, even those with strong feelings against church doctrine or policies. One of my favorite scriptures is found within King Benjamin’s speech in the Book of Mormon where he calls on his people to serve others by saying, “…when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” Jesus Christ also said to his disciples, “…inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
As lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Mormons, we might ask how best we can serve others during the Christmas season. You might be asking if you can, or should, be participating in the Church’s #LIGHTtheWORLD campaign. My personal feeling is that yes, we should absolutely do these things. As the LGBT Mormon community, we are even more keenly aware of the difficulties that many in our community face, which opens the door for so many more opportunities for us to provide service. Use this time to serve others in the LGBT community. As we do so, we can share these experiences on social media using the #LIGHTtheWORLD hashtag. You could also include details or other hashtags that identify you as an LGBT Mormon if you feel comfortable doing so. If you include the #affirmationlds hashtag, we’ll see your post and share it with others.
Might I suggest one specific way you can help those in need? Consider making a financial donation to the work Affirmation is doing to reach LGBT Mormons throughout the world. Even better, make a commitment to support this work by making a monthly donation. For so many, Affirmation is the first place where they find support and hope when they are struggling to reconcile their sexual orientation or gender identity with their faith, family, and heritage. Your support allows us to reach more people, both online through our website and social media efforts and in person through local chapters and conferences around the world. If you are able, please give today.